Serving Size or Portion Sizes and Weight Loss Skip to content

Its About The Portion Size

Think about this: bears eat fish and vegetation and look how big they get! It’s definitely about what you eat, buts it’s also about how much. If you eat enough of anything, you can gain weight.

I’ve told you a lot about how to make healthier eating choices and how to plan ahead to make these choices, but you really need to know how much of these healthier choices you should be eating, i.e., you need to know about serving sizes and measuring a specific portion size. The truth is that if you eat too much of anything, it’s not good for you. And these days, our plates seem to be getting bigger and bigger both at home and at restaurants too.

Use a seriously simple method to determine portion size

Measuring a serving size can be quite simple, even using the parts of your hand! Using this method to determine your unique portion size makes sense because smaller people have smaller hands, and bigger people have bigger hands.

A fist or cupped hand is equal to 1 cup. And one serving of raw or leafy green vegetables equals 1 cup. One serving of cereal, cooked pasta, or rice equals ½ cup. The same goes for a serving size of cooked or raw chopped vegetables or fruit.

Your palm is equal to 3 oz. of meat. One serving of lean meat (poultry, fish, shellfish, beef) equals 3 oz. (your palm!) And you should be eating two serving sizes of raw meat (or two palms) as part of your daily diet. 

A thumb is equal to 1 oz. of cheese. You should eat 2-3 servings of dairy per day, and 1 ½ – 2 oz. of low-fat cheese counts as one of these servings.

Your thumb tip is equal to 1 teaspoon. This measurement is good for high-fat foods you should keep at a minimum, such as peanut butter or mayonnaise. It is also good to know that a tablespoon equals three teaspoons (or three thumb tips!)

A handful is equal to 1-2 oz. of snack food. 1 handful is equal to 1 oz. of nuts and small candies. For chips and pretzels, two handfuls are equal to 1 oz.

And finally, one tennis ball is equal to 1 serving of fruit. You should be eating 2-4 daily servings of fruit.

Think about your next meal and snack

So before you grab a few handfuls or your favorite snack, spread on too much mayonnaise on your sandwich, or eat a large bowl of pasta take a good look at your hand, and think about how much you really should be eating.

Do you have any good ways to remember how much to eat in a portion size? I’d love to know! Please share your thoughts at our Facebook page.

In the meantime, save this image to your phone or print it out as a reminder of how you can measure serving sizes for your meals, and help to control your weight by practicing portion size control.

Use this guide

Portion size using hand

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